It’s no secret that some times of the year are better to visit Disney World than others!
If you’re like us (or probably most people!), you want that low-crowd, mild weather, easygoing day in the Disney World parks. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Today, we’re sharing 10 times that you may NOT want to visit Disney World — the decision on when to take your trip is ultimately up to you, but if you avoid these times of the year, then your trip might be a smidge less stressful!
Let’s start with one of the big ones! In the U.S., Spring Break usually falls around March/April, with the weeks surrounding Easter being the most popular. During this time, it seems like everybody and their brother are at Disney World!
If you hit the parks during Spring Break, you’ll generally find that the crowds are thick, the wait times are high, and nearly everything you do will take much longer than usual. The weather during this season is also pretty unpredictable, ranging from rainy to hot to freezing all in one week. If you can schedule your trip outside of Spring Break ranges, then you might find the parks to be a bit more enjoyable!
Surprise, surprise, right? It’s busy in summer!! Since summer is so long, the crowds aren’t quite as thick as they would be during a shorter holiday season, but the real kicker here is the weather. Many summer days in Florida get into the triple digits and it rains most afternoons for a lovely hot-humid combo (If by “lovely” you think we mean that wonderful feeling where every inch of you is soaked in sweat!).
And while crowds may not be quite as bad as Spring Break or Christmas, they’re still nothing to scoff at. Most children are out of school, so families take this opportunity to plan those longer 5, 6, or 7-day vacations.
This one can be a bit tricky because sometimes it’s difficult to remember when all the long weekends happen. Generally speaking, holiday weekends like MLK Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day bring short bursts of crowds during otherwise calm times of the year.
If you’re taking a trip to Disney World and looking to have an easier time, make sure to avoid these holidays if you can. Lots of people with an extra day or two off of work and school means that families will be rushing to cram a weeklong trip into a long weekend. We typically advise people to visit the parks during the week if they can, because the weekdays tend to be less crowded across the board. This especially holds true on holiday weekends!
And if you thought that long weekends were packed, then welcome to the BIGGEST crowds of the year! A large majority of Americans have time off at Christmas and Thanksgiving — some even have multiple weeks. The week around the actual holidays (so typically that last week of those months) is PACKED. If you’re considering going this time of year guess what — TONS of other people are too! Besides the fact that the parks will be crowded, they’ll also be more expensive!
Disney World uses date-based pricing for its hotel rooms and tickets, so if you travel during the busiest weeks of the year, you’ll possibly be paying hundreds more for tickets and your room than if you came during the off-season. Save that money for Christmas presents by coming earlier in the year or visiting in-between the two holidays when things are less full.
New Year’s Eve
Wouldn’t it be fun to ring in the new year at Disney World? Yeah?! Well, that’s what thousands of other people are thinking too! You may not find it quite as exciting when you’re standing on Main Street, U.S.A., and can’t move because the crowds are too thick. 😉
This one is even more chaotic when the parks are open until midnight. In the past, each of the parks has offered special celebrations, entertainment, and fireworks just for this one night. The parks often hit capacity, preventing certain guests from entering. Even worse — the holiday falls just one week after Christmas. Meaning many folks are still off work and lots of guests planning a Christmas trip will try to be there for BOTH holidays.
We have to admit that it’s still a lot of fun to kick off another year at the Most Magical Place on Earth. If you try this one out, just be prepared for an overwhelming evening!
New Ride Openings
We get it, it’s really exciting to be among the first to board a BRAND NEW Disney World ride. But if you’re trying to pull it off, you’re going to have quite the task ahead of you. Dedicated fans arrive HOURS before the park opens to be the first in line, so using regular rope drop strategies here won’t help very much.
Then, there’s also the likelihood that you’ll be waiting multiple hours in line for the new ride before you can board, even if you’re there early. (We still have vivid memories of the MASSIVE 300-minute line in the sun and heat for the grand opening of Frozen Ever After in EPCOT!) If you’re that interested, then more power to you. We get it (heck, we’re in the line opening day too!) but you’ll probably be able to sleep in a little and board the ride with a much shorter wait time just a few days after it opens!
Want to Know What it’s Like? Click Here for Our Experience at the Opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway!
New Land Openings
Similar to ride openings, you might want to avoid Disney World around the time when a park expansion or new land opens. When Galaxy’s Edge first opened in 2019, it was so crowded that they had to use a boarding group system to just allow people into the land. Similarly, when Toy Story Land opened, there was a monster line you had to wait in just to get to enter and walk around!
Even if you make it into the new section of the park, it’s not uncommon to find it so crowded that you don’t get to fully experience all the new things. A LAND has so much more to explore than just a ride so guests, naturally, want time to explore! If you delay your visit by a few weeks, you can usually avoid the hoards of people and still get to check out the new offerings before most people will!
EPCOT Festivals…On the Weekends
Listen, we REALLY love EPCOT festivals. Like…a lot. But you may want to avoid them on the weekends if you can. On Friday-Sunday, especially at dinnertime, the World Showcase tends to get packed during festival season.
A lot of locals have Annual Passes and it’s not uncommon to see them head to EPCOT to experience the fests on weekends or dinner time weekdays. It’s not just locals though — EPCOT has rightfully earned a rep as the park with a LOT of great food options, so many guests plan to hop over in the evening for dinner. We’ve often found ourselves waiting longer than usual to get food during those times. Then, once you get your food, it becomes even more challenging to find a place to eat it! If you’re traveling to EPCOT for a festival, try to stop by during the week. If you can’t, hit up the food booths earlier in the day to avoid the dinner/after-work rush.
During Sports Competitions
Since COVID-19 has caused many things to get canceled, this may not necessarily be a problem this year, but we’re going to tell you about it anyway — sports competitions! Each year, several competitions for cheerleading, football, and other sports are held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World. These events usually bring large groups of teenagers to the resorts and the parks.
While the crowds in the parks may not be affected too much, you’ll certainly notice a change in the type of guest you see around the park. The athletes tend to travel in packs and might be a bit, well…louder than your average guests. You really shouldn’t notice too much of a difference unless you happen to enter a line behind a pack of 30+ cheerleaders! Note these groups often stay on-site at Value Resorts (not surprisingly, All-Star Sports is a popular location for these groups to stay!). If you want a quieter hotel experience, maybe consider avoiding these hotels if you visit during a competition.
For a Milestone Celebration
The last time when you may want to avoid the parks is for a milestone celebration at the parks (we’re looking at you, 50th Anniversary!). While there is going to be a lot to do and enjoy on October 1st, 2021, there are also going to be MASSIVE crowds, as Magic Kingdom has already been booked to capacity. Tons of Disney fans have planned special trips just to experience this momentous occasion!
The good news is that Disney World plans to celebrate its 50th Anniversary for 18 months, so you should be able to find a less-busy time of the year to visit and still experience most of the unique offerings. We can’t blame you if you want to be in the parks ON the official day (we’re going to be there ourselves), but we just want to make sure that you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into!
If you absolutely need to say “I was there!” on EPCOT’s 40th anniversary (yep, that’s rolling around next year, too!) or I was on Main Street, U.S.A. ON the 50th anni of Disney World, go for it! It’s just gonna be a bit hectic!
There you have it, 10 times that you don’t want to be in Disney World! Like we said at the beginning, when you visit is ultimately up to YOU! We’re in Disney World eeeevery day so we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. A lot of it comes down to perspective. What are YOU looking to accomplish? If it’s being first on the newest ride or taking the least days off school and work to slip in that vacation, no one can tell you you’re wrong. You do you! No matter how crowded or crazy the parks are, you can still have a spectacular vacation if you have a positive attitude and a plan!
Stay tuned to DFB for the latest Disney World news and trip planning advice. We’re in the parks every day to get the most up-to-date coverage, so keep an eye on our site!
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
Have you been to Disney World during any of these times? What was your experience like?